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RNA. 2008 Nov;14(11):2348-60. doi: 10.1261/rna.1034808. Epub 2008 Sep 23.

MicroRNA miR-21 overexpression in human breast cancer is associated with advanced clinical stage, lymph node metastasis and patient poor prognosis.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Oncology in Southern China, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, People's Republic of China.


To investigate the global expression profile of miRNAs in primary breast cancer (BC) and normal adjacent tumor tissues (NATs) and its potential relevance to clinicopathological characteristics and patient survival, the genome-wide expression profiling of miRNAs in BC was investigated using a microarray containing 435 mature human miRNA oligonucleotide probes. Nine miRNAs of hsa-miR-21, hsa-miR-365, hsa-miR-181b, hsa-let-7f, hsa-miR-155, hsa-miR-29b, hsa-miR-181d, hsa-miR-98, and hsa-miR-29c were observed to be up-regulated greater than twofold in BC compared with NAT, whereas seven miRNAs of hsa-miR-497, hsa-miR-31, hsa-miR-355, hsa-miR-320, rno-mir-140, hsa-miR-127 and hsa-miR-30a-3p were observed to be down-regulated greater than twofold. The most significantly up-regulated miRNAs, hsa-mir-21 (miR-21), was quantitatively analyzed by TaqMan real-time PCR in 113 BC tumors. Interestingly, among the 113 BC cases, high level expression of miR-21 was significantly correlated with advanced clinical stage (P = 0.006, Fisher's exact text), lymph node metastasis (P = 0.007, Fisher's exact text), and shortened survival of the patients (hazard ratio [HR]=5.476, P < 0.001). Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed this prognostic impact (HR=4.133, P = 0.001) to be independent of disease stage (HR=2.226, P = 0.013) and histological grade (HR=3.681, P = 0.033). This study could identify the differentiated miRNAs expression profile in BC and reveal that miR-21 overexpression was correlated with specific breast cancer biopathologic features, such as advanced tumor stage, lymph node metastasis, and poor survival of the patients, indicating that miR-21 may serve as a molecular prognostic marker for BC and disease progression.

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